Research Opportunities

The University of Alberta's Undergraduate Research Initiative provides students with funding to enable them to conduct in-depth research in an area of interest during the summer. In EAS, students conduct research mentored by a faculty member or other mentor. For more information about the Undergraduate Research Initiative including an application form click here.

If you are an undergraduate student, have an appetite for discovery and achievement, and would like to be paid for 16 weeks of research, then you should apply for an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award. You will first need to talk to faculty members whose research interests you, and see who is interested and willing to supervise (and partially fund) you.

All students receiving an award, regardless of program, must work under the supervision of a faculty member who holds an ACTIVE NSERC research grant (Operating, strategic, cooperative R&D) or an industrial research chair at the time the application is completed by the student. Any applicant who has listed a supervisor that does not hold an active NSERC research grant will be considered ineligible.

Briefly, the criteria for the program are as follows:

  1. The student must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. The student must have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of his/her bachelor's degree.
  3. The student must be registered as a full-time student in an eligible academic program at the time of application. Those in undergraduate professional programs (nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, medicine) and those who hold higher degrees in the natural sciences or engineering are NOT eligible.
  4. The student must have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7 (on the 4.0 scale) in their program up to the time of application.
  5. No student may hold more than three USRAs in their academic career, nor may any student hold more than one award in a given fiscal year (May 1 to April 30).

The NSERC contribution for successful applications is $1125.00 per month (for a period of 4 months, May-August). Supervisors are required to supplement each award by at least 25% of the value of the award ($281.25 per month).

Online Application procedure:

All applications must be completed electronically using NSERC's online application system. Paper applications will not be accepted!

More information is available on the NSERC website.

The online application is completed in two parts:

  • Once the students have completed Part 1 of the application (including uploading of official transcripts), they will forward their application reference number onto their supervisor who will need to complete Part 2 of the student's application.
  • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the applications include the following information:
    • Supervisor Grant Application Number
    • Supervisor NSERC Personal Identification Number (PIN)
    • Research subject code


To facilitate this process, each student must submit to Undergraduate Program Administrator, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (1-26 ESB) the following documentation:

  1. Copies of Part 1 and Part 2 of their USRA application from the on-line system.
  2. Transcripts (the official transcripts you scanned to submit to NSERC via the on-line system).
  3. A brief statement (one page or less) describing why you are applying for this award, and how receiving it will fit in with your career plans and long term goals.

Eligible students who are not selected for an award will be placed on an alternate list should successful candidates decline their award.

Alternates will be offered awards in descending GPA order.